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December 14, 2019 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

The Saturday night (Dec. 14) live card of racing at Batavia Downs has been cancelled due to heavy snow and inclement weather. This ends the 2019 racing season in Western New York as this was the last day of the meet. 

Live harness racing will return to the oldest lighted harness track in America in July.

Western Regional Off Track Betting would like to thank all the horsemen, horsewomen, fans and staff for the record season Batavia Downs had this year and wishes everyone a very Happy Holiday Season.

December 14, 2019 - 2:49pm

Above, Vicki McKeirnan, Gail Montgomery, Sandy Tabone, and Joe Zaso and the cache ready to distribute for the annual Washington Towers Christmas Door Decorating Contest: 

On Dec. 10th, Washington Towers held its Christmas Door Decorating Contest, a longstanding tradition.

Fifty residents participated in 2018 and received a prize. This year even more tenants signed up.

It should not have to be said, but fairness in these matters is of utmost importance.

"Several years ago we decided we needed 'outside' judges so it would be fair," says Washington Towers property manager Valerie Tidwell, who was not forthcoming about the backstory or how the tipping point was reached in determining the "need."

Yet, paradoxically, without any whiff of concern over whispers of nepotism, Tidwell took it upon herself to enlist her three aunts, "The Sisters," and one of their friends and they've been at the annual task ever since -- for more than 12 years now.

With the contest reins firmly in hand, Vicki McKeirnan, Gail Montgomery and Sandy Tabone, along with Sandy’s friend Joe Zaso, all "fun and funny" people with "huge laughs" set their hearts and minds to make the holidays special inside Washington Towers.

The Sisters donate all of the gift bags, each filled with a pleasing array of items including: slippers, socks, hats and gloves, kitchen and bath towels, stationary, candies, holiday items and more. And the cache is brought in in advance and organized.

For their mission, which they volunteered to accept, they don't dillydally. They take their judging duties very seriously although their attire suggests otherwise.

They painstakingly go to each contestant's entrance and critique the door decor by means of an intricate scoring system. Ask the details though you may, they will not be shared. (The Batavian, though tempted, dared not broach the subject.)

The judges pick the mise-en-scène winners and deliver the prizes of gift bags.

Despite the purportedly elaborate scoring calculus, all participants receive a prize, definitely a case of “Everyone Gets a Trophy.”

Regardless, competition for one of the top spots is consistently fierce. After all, bragging rights last an entire year!

The denizens of Washington Towers are so grateful to The Sisters -- and The Friend -- for their time, the gifts and most of all, the holiday cheer they bring.

"They brighten the season for our residents and our staff," Tidwell said. "The residents love it and I love it, but I also know that they love it!"

Photo and information courtesy of Valerie Tidwell, property manager, Washington Towers.

December 13, 2019 - 3:00pm


New listing alert: 202 Trumbull Parkway, Batavia. Super well cared for city ranch located on north side on quiet street. This home sits on large double lot with nice landscaping! Don’t let this one go unnoticed -- this owner did everything right and took care of all the maintenance so you can just move in and make it your own!

You name it, it was done, roof windows furnace etc...Many nice features including entry hall with laundry area off the garage. Love a place to kick off your shoes and storage-leading into large and cozy kitchen with dining area next to gas fireplace – so so homey!

Look out to a slider door to peaceful backyard or curl up next to fireplace while you eat and entertain! Also has large front living room and three good sized bedrooms. Don’t forget the two car garage and very large and dry basement for all your extra storage or hobbies.

Come see! Click here for more information or call Lynn Bezon today. Call 585-344-HOME (4663).

December 13, 2019 - 2:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Oakfield, batavia, Le Roy, corfu.

Edward C. Simmons, 33, of Applegate Drive, Medina, is charged with: second-degree burglary -- illegal entry into a dwelling; fourth-degree grand larceny -- a rifle; and grand larceny -- property value greater than $1,000. Simmons is accused of breaking into a residence on Sept. 16 on East Shelby Road in Oakfield and stealing a 22-caliber Remington rifle and other property valued at $1,000 or more. Following an investigation, he was arrested on Dec. 9 and arraigned in Oakfield Town Court. He was then released on his own recognizance and is due back in court at 6 p.m. on Jan. 6. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Investigator Joseph Loftus.

Melody McMaster, 48, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. McMaster was arrested on Dec. 9 at an apartment on Chestnut Street in Batavia for allegedly violating an order of protection by being in the protected party's residence at 11:17 a.m. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Dec. 24. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Stephen Quider.

Brandon Gene Rindell, 38, of West Main Street, Corfu, is charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated -- a BAC of .18 percent or more, and DWI. On Dec. 12 at 7:33 p.m., Rindell was arrested after his vehicle was involved in a motor-vehicle accident in the Village of Corfu. He was released on appearance tickets and is due in Village of Corfu Court on Dec. 16. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore.

Mellanie Golamb, 36, of Folkestone Lane, Penfield, is charged with: aggravated driving while intoxicated -- a BAC of .18 percent or more; DWI; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; moving from lane unsafely; and failure to notify the DMV of an address change. On Dec. 10 at 7:33 a.m., the dispatch center received a call of a vehicle being operated irratically. Following a traffic stop on Stephen H. Hawley Drive in the Town of Batavia, standard field sobriety tests were performed. Golamb was arrested and processed at the Genesee County Jail. She was released on appearance tickets and is due in Batavia Town Court on Dec. 19. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong, assisted by Deputy Chad Cummings. Deputy Lonnie Nati also assisted along with Genesee County Corrections officers.

Karen M. Lau, 54, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated  -- a BAC of .18 percent or more, and DWI. She was arrested at 8:16 p.m. on Nov. 30 on East Main Street in Batavia after she was allegedly found sleeping in the driver's seat of her vehicle parked in the parking lot of a business. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Joshua Girvin, assisted by Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Angelo James Voltura, 24, of Meiser Road, Corfu, is charged with: operating a motor vehicle while having a BAC of .08 percent or more; driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated; speed not reasonable or prudent; and failure to keep right. Following the investigation of a single-vehicle accident at 1:41 a.m. on Dec. 11 on Pratt Road in the Town of Batavia, Voltura was arrested. He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and released on appearance tickets. He is due to return to court on Dec. 23. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Quakenbush, assisted by Deputy James Stack.

Kyle J. Schroeder, 23, of Telephone Road, Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested following a shoplifiting incident at 9:09 a.m. on Dec. 8 at a business on East Main Street in the City of Batavia. Schroeder is accused of taking an item out of the packaging while at a business and attempting to conceal that item while continuing through the store. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Dec. 17. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

December 13, 2019 - 12:04pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in crime, news, notify, batavia.
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    Quinton Edmonds

Quinton J. Edmonds, 31, of Rochester, appeared in Genesee County Court on Thursday afternoon, along with his attorney Fred Rarick, for a hearing on motions to suppress evidence in the case against him.

Edmonds is currently being held without bail at the Genesee County Jail on a second-degree murder charge in the death of 43-year-old Michael Paladino.

On June 1 at about 12:45 a.m., Edmonds was allegedly involved in a physical altercation with a female on the sidewalk near 5 and 7 Ross St. in the City of Batavia.

Paladino heard the argument and attempted to intervene. A physical altercation then ensued between Paladino and the suspect. During the altercation, Paladino sustained life-threatening injuries.

On Oct. 30th, Edmonds refused to appear in County Court, Rarick apologized to Judge Charles Zambito and scheduled a suppression hearing in his absence.

During today’s hearing, Rarick argued that police did not have probable cause to detain Edmonds and that the “Show Up” procedure was very suggestive.

“Based on the information I was provided -- black male, black and white shirt -- that’s all they had when they detained him,” says Rarick.

District Attorney Larry Friedman called Sgt. Dan Coffey to the stand during the hearing to explain how the incident unfolded at 5-7 Ross St.

Coffey told the court there was a report of a disturbance and a subject down and a subject who possibly had a gun. When police arrived on scene, the victim, Paladino, was located in an enclosed entryway in a pool of blood, unresponsive and seriously injured. The suspect was described by a witness as a black male wearing a colorful shirt, colors of the American flag, Coffey told the court. A second witness said the suspect was walking south, headed toward East Main street with a knife in his hand.

Officer Mitch Cowen had spotted a vehicle turning off of Ross street headed west on East Main and pulled it over; he was in the process of interviewing the two female subjects in the Richmond Library parking lot when there was a visual sighting of the suspect who was on foot. Both female subjects in the vehicle then identified the suspect as they were on Ross Street during the disturbance.

Coffey then told the court that when he approached the Richmond Library parking lot, the suspect was lying on the ground in handcuffs. Coffey then walked the suspect back to his police vehicle at 5-7 Ross St. and placed him in the backseat of the vehicle.

Both witnesses on Ross Street subsequently confirmed that Edmonds was the suspect involved after a “Show Up,” where the witnesses were able to get a look at the suspect in the back of Sgt. Dan Coffey’s police vehicle. Coffey opened the rear door of his police vehicle and shined a flashlight on the suspect who was handcuffed. The witnesses were about 7-10 feet from the suspect.

Sgt. Coffey was wearing a bodycam during the incident and the first 21 minutes of the video was submitted as evidence.

Rarick then questioned if the witnesses watched Sgt. Coffey put the suspect into his police vehicle and if the City of Batavia Police had a policy or procedure for “Show Up” identifications.

Sgt. Coffey says the department does have a policy and procedure and it was followed that night. Rarick then asked why the suspect was not taken back to Batavia Police headquarters for a lineup.

Sgt. Coffey advised Rarick that the Batavia Police Department does not do lineups. Coffey says he wanted to make sure the right person was detained at the scene. Rarick argued that the witnesses did not get a full-body view of the suspect from the rear of the car, just his face.

No blood was on the suspect and a weapon was never recovered.

District Attorney Larry Friedman told the court that Edmonds met the description, was in close proximity to the scene and he left the scene on foot.

“This was an appropriate “ShowUp,” Friedman said.

After learning of the two primary witnesses who identified Edmonds in the vehicle that was pulled over in the Richmond Library parking lot, Rarick says he probably would not have requested a suppression hearing. Rarick says he was not provided with their statements in discovery.

“Under the new discovery guidelines, they would have had to give me all those statements by the ladies that were in the car with him, saying 'that’s the guy that did it,' that’s nowhere in any of the reports. Had the District Attorney come forward with all this stuff, there would have been no need for a suppression hearing,” says Rarick.

Judge Zambito reserved his decision, will review the evidence and will advise of his decision at Edmonds’ next court appearance at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 3.

December 12, 2019 - 8:15am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Batavia HS, basketball, sports, batavia.

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Twenty four-quarter points helped lift Batavia over Greece Athena for a 64-53 win Wednesday night.

Zach Gilebarto scored 21 points, Cam White, 16, Stone Siverling, 14, and Caeden White, 8.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

To view or purchase prints, click here.

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December 10, 2019 - 3:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Brian Lee Crockett, 39, of Woleben Road, Portland, is charged with petit larceny. At 1:48 a.m. on Dec. 7 Crockett was arrested after he allegedly stole various gift cards valued at $225 from a Christmas party at a hotel on Park Road in Batavia. Crockett was apprehended and arrested in his hotel room and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office alleges he had the stolen property in his possession at the time of his arrest. Crockett was issued appearance tickets and is due in Batavia Town Court on Dec. 19. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Nicholas Chamoun.

Nicholas J. Durkin, 38, of Drullard Avenue, Lancaster is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and third-degree grand larceny. Durkin was arrested on Dec. 5 while he was at Batavia City Court on another matter. He was arraigned there on the charges at 11:20 a.m. It is alleged that on June 19 on Washington Avenue in the city that Durkin took $4,900 ti perform HVAC work at a local business. After receiving payment, it is alleged that he never completed the work. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Nicholas A. Gaudy, 27, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated -- a BAC of .18 percent or more, DWI, and refusing to take a roadside breath test. Gaudy was stopped at 11:51 a.m. on East Main Street in Batavia following a civilian complaint. Gaudy was processed at Genesee County Jail and released on appearance tickets. Gaudy is due in Batavia City Court on Dec. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Teresa M. Stephenson, 30, of Cedar Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested following a complaint of larceny at a business on West Main Street in the City of Batavia at 3:10 p.m. on Dec. 5. Stephenson was released on appearance tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on Dec. 17. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot.

December 10, 2019 - 3:05pm

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(Submitted photo: Above, Tom Mazurkiewicz, left, with City Church's Ryan Macdonald.) 

Chiropractor Tom Mazurkiewicz continues the tradition of Don Carroll, collecting toys for local children at his practice on Washington Avenue in the City of Batavia.

During business hours between now and end of the day Monday, Dec. 16, donors are welcome to bring unwrapped toys for ages 2 through 15. On Saturday, Dec. 14, Mazurkiewicz is offering free complementary adjustments with any toy donation between 7 and 10 a.m. Refreshments will be served.

Mazurkiewicz is partnering with City Church at T.F. Brown's Restaurant, so the toy donations will go to both places for distribution to local children at these respective events:

  • City Church will donate toys at its Christmas party on Dec. 17;
  • T.F. Brown's will donate toys at its Christmas party Dec. 19.
December 10, 2019 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, news.

From the City of Batavia Police Department:

The Batavia Police Department has received multiple complaints of vehicle thefts, and larcenies from vehicles over the past couple weeks.

With the Holidays upon us, the Batavia Police Department would like to remind our citizens:

  • Lock your doors/vehicles;
  • Do not leave important items in your vehicle (wallets, presents, IDs, money, etc.);
  • Don’t leave your keys in your vehicle when you’re not using it;
  • Don’t “run in quick” and leave your keys in the ignition with the vehicle running -- It’s Illegal!
  • If you are taking your vehicle to the mechanic after hours, make sure they have a secure “Drop Box” for your keys;
  • Be aware of NYS VTL - 1210; Unattended motor vehicle: (a) No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the vehicle…”

The Batavia Police Department can be reached at 585-345-6350, the confidential tip line at 585-345- 6370 or online here.

December 8, 2019 - 10:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Christmas in the City, batavia, news, photos.

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December 8, 2019 - 2:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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        Terrance Falk

A 21-year-old Rochester man with ties to Batavia is charged with gang assault and harassment in connection with an incident on Highland Park on Oct. 4.

The Batavia Police Department released information on the arrest today.

A codefendant in the case, Riley Mayer, 21, of Batavia, pled guilty in Genesee County Court on Thursday to a charge of assault, 2nd

A third suspect has not yet been charged, according to District Attorney Lawrence Friedman. 

The victim in the attack allegedly suffered serious injuries.

Falk was arrested in October and arraigned Oct. 7 and ordered held on $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond. There is no information immediately available on his current bail status.

Falk's current address is on Woodsmeadow Lane in Rochester.

He reportedly lived in Batavia in August 2018 when he was charged with disorderly conduct and harassment at a concert at Darien Lake. He reportedly lived in Brighton in September 2015 when he fought with a guard in the Genesee County Jail. In December 2014, he was accused of damaging property in Le Roy. There's no information immediately available on the disposition of those cases.

December 8, 2019 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Foxprowl, news, batavia.

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Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with a few superheroes, made his annual visit to Foxprowl Collectables on Ellicott Street on Saturday.

Submitted photo.

December 8, 2019 - 8:00am
posted by Billie Owens in Christmas, nostalgia, batavia, news.

Story by Dave Reilly. Photos courtesy of Dave Reilly.

(Warning: Christmas spoilers are contained in this article.)

When people reminisce about Christmas when they were little, different remembrances about the holiday come to their minds. The tree, the dinner, the church, and the presents they received are all standouts.

The best thing about Christmas for me is the magicality of it for kids. When I was young I fell hook, line, and Rudolph for the whole thing. Santa Claus, the reindeer, the sleigh -- all of it. Then, when I became a dad and had little ones of my own, it brought me back to my own childhood to see the awe and wonder on their faces on Christmas morning.

My Santa-believing years were mostly spent at 26 Thomas Avenue where we lived from when I was 1 to 8 years old. My parents, especially my mom, really stoked the imaginations of my younger brother Dan and me with the fantasy aspect of Christmas.

In the days leading up to Santa's visit we were encouraged to write and mail our toy list to the North Pole, first dictating to mom and later scratching out our own missive complete with misspellings. Then, we would walk holding mom's hand to the nearby mailbox to send them off. I guess now kids would text Santa or maybe the Jolly Old Elf is on Twitter.

Putting up the tree is not a great memory though. Going to pick one out at the tree lot was fun, usually combined with stopping for hot chocolate. But, once we got it home it was my dad's responsibility.

Troublesome Tree Stands

Apparently no one had yet invented an easy to use stand and this task was rife with a lot of yelling and epithets. My dad's favorite was “Judas Kraut!” We knew things were really going badly when we heard, “Oh fall down why don't ya!” Usually we'd retreat to our room to avoid this yearly outburst.

Almost worse than erecting the tree was the putting on of lights. First, the snarled wires, which had somehow become entwined like a ball of snakes up in the attic since last year, had to be untangled. Then, those who lived back in the '50s will remember that if one bulb went out they all did. Consequently, an exhaustive and profane process had to be carried out to find the faulty offender. I was never good at science so I'm not sure of why this was electrically speaking, but it sure caused dad to give off sparks.

Once the tree was up and lit (temporarily until another bulb shorted out the whole string) it was mom's purview to decorate it. As you can see by the accompanying photos, this meant applying mounds of silver tinsel. If the old theory of improving TV reception by putting aluminum foil on the antennas was true, Christmas trees back then were capable of picking up alien signals from distant galaxies. There must have been ornaments under there somewhere but who could tell?

Keeping Score on Outdoor Decor

A week or so before Christmas, we'd all pile into the family car (probably a Pontiac) to drive around Batavia and look at people's outdoor displays. My mom would bring a pen and paper and we'd give scores and vote on whose decorations were the best.

Since it was 65 or more years ago now, I can't recall any streets or houses which stood out except for Redfield Parkway. This street is in the western part of the city by the racetrack and the Veterans Hospital and has a median down the middle. Almost every house would put a tree on their front lawn and light it up in different ways. Individually each house wasn't much to see, but taken as a whole it was impressive.

I haven't been in Batavia at Christmas for a number of years, but I think this neighborhood tradition is still going on.

Christmas Eve Day must have been a real challenge for my (and all) moms. The anticipation of Santa coming was almost too much to bear. Activities had to be found for us so we wouldn't go completely out of control. You know how your puppy gets when it's been in a crate all day waiting for you to get home from work? That was us minus the barking and jumping. Well, the barking anyway.

So the day would be spent baking and decorating cookies and getting Santa and the reindeers' snacks ready. Cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer were placed on the hearth with a note. One year mom apparently thought it would be cute for me (Dan was too young) to write a poem about Santa.

Santa Claus lives way up north,

On Christmas Eve he goes forth,

To bring presents to girls and boys,

Books and balls and lots of toys.

You better watch out,

And you better not cry,

Or Santa right by your house

Will fly.

If you are good,

Do not fear,

Santa will come down the chimney

This year.

OK, it didn't win a Pulitzer Prize, but it was cute, wasn't it?

The Grip of Insomnia

Like many parents ours had to struggle to get us to sleep on the Big Night. The tactic of telling us that Santa wouldn't come if we were awake only seemed to make our eyes bulge wider. My mom told us that if we were really quiet we could hear the bells of the reindeer jingling. I was positive a couple of years that I actually heard them on the roof, but when I got up and looked out the window there was nothing there but the cold dark night.

To make it even harder to drift off into dreamland my mom had a tradition, maybe from Denmark from where my grandparents emigrated, to hang our stocking on the foot of our bed instead of the hearth. Imagine trying to fall asleep when you thought Santa would imminently be standing right there in your bedroom.

I swore that I never closed my eyes, but all of a sudden at 3 or 4 in the morning I would check my stocking for seemingly the 20th time and it would be full! Talk about magic! Then I had to restrain myself from looking through everything until morning.

One thing I could count on being in there once I learned to read was a Hardy Boys book. I loved them and for my parents' benefit it served the purpose of keeping me busy all day. I would usually have read the whole book by bedtime on Christmas night. Besides the book and maybe a small toy, the rest of the stocking was filled with nuts and tangerines. We weren't wealthy by any means.

Sneaking a Peek

One Christmas Eve, or more accurately early in the morning, I couldn't restrain myself and decided that I just had to see Santa. I tiptoed, probably in my slipper socks, to the stairs and positioned myself where I could see the tree.

I'm not sure how long I sat there, but at some point my dad discovered me and shooed me back to bed. He probably admonished me that if Santa had seen me he would have gone back up the chimney without leaving any presents. Dads are well known to be more blunt than moms about such things.

After all that anticipation, Christmas morning was almost anticlimactic.

The Big Bonanza

Nonetheless, we kids were up at the crack of dawn dragging a half-asleep mom and dad behind us down the stairs. Like in most every other household there ensued a hullabaloo of torn wrapping paper, opened boxes, and Oohs!, Aahs!, and Oh Boys! galore.

Presents for little boys in those days would certainly include cowboy gear, including the dreaded cap pistols with mom's admonishment, “Those are for outdoors only!” Also in the Santa bonanza would be baseball mitts and/or bats and footballs and equipment, including one year my prized red helmet, which I reminisced about in a previous story.

If you look carefully at one of the accompanying photos you can make out a toy gas station. Today it would possibly be an electric charging station for the kids' toy Prius or Tesla.

My parents' gift from me consisted of a construction paper covered packet in the shape of an angel or a bell made at school. Inside I would promise them a bunch of rosaries and prayers (pretty sure I never paid up) with a message that the nun would have us copy from the blackboard: "Dear Mom and Dad, Thank you for all you do for me. Your son, David Reilly.” (Good thing I put my last name so mom and dad wouldn't think some other kid named David made it.)

Round Two -- Cedar Street

After mom calmed us down enough to eat some breakfast, we were lucky enough to embark on a second round of gifts at our Aunt Kate and Peg's house. My dad had two sisters who never married and lived together in the family home at 27 Cedar Street (previously mentioned in "The Blizzard of '66") where they grew up. They doted on Dan and I (they embarrassingly referred to us as “Honey Boys”) and somehow persuaded Santa to make a stop at their place, too. So, the ripping and tearing and opening and shouts of “Yippee!” took place all over again.

Later in the afternoon, usually at our house because mom was the only family member who could cook, we'd sit down to Christmas dinner. This was somewhat of an adventure in itself.

Our Uncle George was a plumber and to be blunt, he kind of smelled like it. So Dan and I would jockey for position at the table so as not to sit by him. His wife, Aunt Helen, apparently had a food issue and while we ate turkey with all the trimmings, mom had to fix her what seemed to be a shriveled piece of some kind of meat. When we got a little older Dan and I would joke that we needed to get it analyzed by a laboratory to see what it actually was.

Once every few years my aunts would cajole everyone to have the dinner at their house. This announcement always led to loud protesting and whining including by my dad and they were his sisters.

They were raised in the Irish style of cooking, which meant boiling everything in water. This included the ham. Just the odor would make us gag. I think there were a couple of years when all I actually ate was those little gherkins that came in a jar. At least they weren't boiled.

Finally, as Christmas night arrived, the big day began to wind down. Uncle George and Aunt Helen headed home in the plumbing truck and my dad had to drive aunts Kate and Peg to their house as they both lived to old age without ever learning to drive.

Christmas Concludes

Little brother Dan conked out somewhere and would eventually be carried up to bed. I would be curled up in a quiet spot absorbed in whether Frank and Joe Hardy would solve the case of “The Sinister Sign Post.” I assume that our parents were relaxing, too, and breathing a sigh of relief that it was over for another year.

Between the ages of 8 and 10 we lived for a couple years on Ellicott Avenue and then when I was 10 we moved across town to 122 North Spruce Street. Of course, Christmases continued on with many of the same people and traditions.

But at some point, like all kids, I realized the truth, and the magic of Santa vanished. Thankfully, the enchantment returned in the 1980s when my children were born and I got to again suspend reality for several years through their wide and happy eyes.

December 7, 2019 - 11:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, basketball, sports, batavia.

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Batavia couldn't quite close the gap at the end Friday night in their home opener against Honeoye Falls-Lima, falling 59-57.

Zach Bilebarto had a big game for the Blue Devils, scoring 25 points while hitting seven three-point shots. Caden White hit three three-pointers and finished with 13 points. Camden White scored 10 points and had eight rebounds.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

To view or purchase prints, click here.

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December 6, 2019 - 4:14pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The story of the nativity, with all of its simplicity and grace, is featured in the Dec. 13 and 15 Christmas concerts of the Genesee Chorale.

Director Ric Jones has selected Ottorino Respighi’s “Laud to the Nativity,” and several old favorites with new arrangements he believes will delight the audience.

Concerts begin at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at Grace Baptist Church, 238 Vine St., Batavia, and at 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at The Grove UMC, 11004 W. Center Street Ext., Medina. Tickets are $10 and are available through the Chorale website genesee.chorale.com, or at the door.

The Respighi work, Jones said, is a master choral work that hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

“Respighi uses elements of Renaissance music throughout the work, with dance-like madrigals and Italian carols,” Jones said. “The accompaniment of the work was unique with him using a chamber sextet as accompaniment.

"Lastly, the theme of the work was great. It uses the poetry of 13th century Franciscan monk Jacopone da Todi. The text focuses on the angel, the shepherds, and Mary.”

The story is told through three soloists – a soprano representing the angel, a mezzo-soprano representing Mary and a tenor representing a shepherd – and full chorus, with instrumental accompaniment by a sextet drawing from talented local players, and Chorale’s pianist Douglas Hanson.

Mary Wojciechowski (inset photo, right) sings the soprano (angel) part. Wojciechowski has experience in musical theater, opera, jazz and classical voice, and has produced and starred in several jazz concerts.

She has been featured with the Brockport Symphony Orchestra, the Brighton Symphony Orchestra, the Gateswingers Big Band and the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra.

On stage, she’s performed such roles as Adele in "Die Feldermaus," Sister Angelica in "Sister Angelica" and the Countess in "The Marriage of Figaro."

Mezzo-soprano Mariami Bekauri (below left inset photo) sings the role of Mary in “Laud to the Nativity.” She has been praised for her “warm” and “handsome” tone, and last month made her debut in the titular role of Rossini’s "La Cenerentola" with Buffalo Opera Unlimited.

She is appearing as mezzo-soprano soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s holiday concerts this month.

She is a graduate of Fredonia School of Music and currently teaches in the music department at Buffalo State College, Houghton College Buffalo and the Fredonia School of Music.

Tenor John Clayton (bottom left inset photo) performs the role of the shepherd in the Respighi piece.

He has been described as a gallant singer with the ability to “put the audience in standstill” and was designated “one of Buffalo’s top vocalists” by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. His is a familiar face on the Buffalo stage, with appearances in more than a dozen operas with Nickel City Opera, Opera Sacra and Buffalo Opera Unlimited.

Clayton often appears as a recitalist or concert soloist with choruses, including Orff’s "Carmina Burana" with the Genesee Chorale a few seasons ago. He recently returned from Italy where he debuted as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s "Don Giovanni."

“This piece has challenged the Chorale in the sense of style,” Jones said. “The piece uses so many different elements and styles that fold in to one another, and that is challenging.”

It is also a challenge to put the music of chorus and instrumentalists together.

“The Chorale has risen to these challenges and I think they will present a moving musical work that depicts the Christmas season,” Jones said.

“Laud to the Nativity” is sung in English translation and constitutes the first half of the program.

The remaining pieces include a new arrangement of "Silent Night" by Dan Forrest, using the traditional text and melody wrapped in what Jones describes as a “beautifully unique harmonic setting.” "Rise Up Shepherd" gets gospel-style treatment, and remaining selections feature new harmonies.

December 6, 2019 - 3:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in snow removal, city public work department, batavia, news.

From the city department of Public Works:

With the arrival of significant winter weather, the City of Batavia Department of Public Works would like to ask for the public’s cooperation as we all try and navigate these storms.

Private plowing contractors should be aware that plowing snow into the street or onto the sidewalk is not allowed and creates dangerous conditions for motorists and pedestrians.

Property owners are ultimately responsible for clearing sidewalks adjacent to their property.

The City supplements sidewalk plowing as crews become available and as need dictates, however, this can only be completed after streets and municipal parking lots are plowed. School routes and main road sidewalks are then given priority.

We appreciate everyone’s efforts managing these snow events.

December 6, 2019 - 1:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, New, notify, batavia, bergen, Amber Alert.

Guillermo Torres-Acevedo, 23, of Batavia, pled guilty today in Genesee County Court to one count of second-degree rape. Other charges against him were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

He admitted to being a person over the age of 18 and having sexual intercourse with a person under age 15 in the Town of Batavia sometime between Nov. 15th and the 26th in 2018.

The maximum possible sentence the Puerto Rico native could receive is six years in prison, with 10 years of parole afterward.

Torres-Acevedo will be sentenced on Feb. 18 in Genesee County Court, after he is first sentenced in Federal Court in Buffalo on Feb. 13.

On Wednesday, Torres-Acevedo pled guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. to enticing a minor, a 14-year-old Bergen girl, to travel across state lines to engage in criminal sexual activity. 

There is no promise of concurrency in county court with the federal sentence, which ranges from six and a half to up to 20 years in prison. The federal penalty could also include a fine of up to $250,000.

The defendant was arrested on Nov. 26, 2018 in Genesee County and charged locally with: four counts of second-degree rape, a Class D violent felony; four counts of criminal sexual act in the second degree, also a Class D violent felony; second-degree kidnapping, a Class B violent felony; and second-degree criminal contempt.

Following his arrest, the defendant persuaded the victim to travel with him out of state to continue their relationship. On Nov. 29, 2018, Torres-Acevedo picked up the girl from school in Genesee County and drove her to Pennsylvania, where they had sexual intercourse. Under Pennsylvania law, that constituted the crime of statutory sexual assault.

December 6, 2019 - 8:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia.
rileymayermug2019.jpg
          Riley Mayer

A 21-year-old Batavia resident entered a guilty plea in Genesee County Court on Thursday to a single count of assault in the second degree for his part in an attack on a victim on Highland Parkway in October.

Riley B. Mayer, of South Main Street, was initially charged with gang assault since two other people were also suspected of participating in the assault. One other person has been charged and charges are pending against a third suspect, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said.

The plea came with no conditions on a possible sentence, and under statute Mayer faces up to seven years in prison.

The victim in the attack allegedly suffered serious injuries in the Oct. 4 attack.

Mayer will be sentenced at a later date.

December 5, 2019 - 2:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, news, notify.

Robert D. Griffin, 41, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with: two counts of first-degree criminal contempt; second-degree burglary; and endangering the welfare of a child less that 17 years old. Griffin was arrested and arraigned Tuesday morning (Dec. 3) after an arrest warrant was issued for him by Batavia City Court. It stems from a domestic incident reported at 7:54 p.m. on Nov. 11 on Manhattan Avenue in Batavia. He was jailed without bail and was due back in court this afternoon (Dec. 5). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Shane H. Zimblis, 48, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with first-degree criminal contempt, fourth-degree criminal mischief, and second-degree unlawful imprisonment. At 11:43 p.m. on Dec. 2, Batavia police responded to a South Swan Street residence for a possible physical domestic incident. Zimblis was arrested on the charges after allegedly violating an order of protection during a physical altercation. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. He was due back in court this afternoon (Dec. 5). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

Christopher P. Thomas, 35, of State Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant on Tuesday (Dec. 3) after failing to appear in Batavia City Court on Nov. 22 for an unspecified matter. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court at 1:40 p.m. and released. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider.

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